The reasons why Jony Ive, the legendary chief designer, left Apple

A much-anticipated book will shed light on what happened at Apple after Steve Jobs’ death. The latest article in the New York Times focuses precisely on the events that alienated Jony Ive, Apple’s legendary chief designer.

The reasons why Jony Ive, the legendary chief designer, left Apple
Jony Ive and Tim Cook during the presentation of the iPhone XR in 2018 // Source: Apple

If you’re not following Apple’s news, you should know that a much anticipated book is coming out this week, titled: After Steve: How Apple became a trillion-dollar company and lost its soul. You can find it for 25 euros at Amazon France.

This is a book written by a New York Times journalist, Tripp Mickle, which tells the story of Apple’s development after the death of founder Steve Jobs in 2011. The title quite clearly suggests the book’s overall tone and seems to represent quite precisely the thinking of Jony Ives, the company’s legendary chief designer. eventually led to his decision to leave to start his own business.

While waiting to get his hands on this book, Tripp Mickle published an article on NYT (” How technocrats triumphed at Apple”), Based on the book, which focuses precisely on the events that separated Jony Ive from Apple, first philosophically and then more concretely.

Disagreements with Tim Cook

The brief explanation is that despite their mutual respect, Jony Ive and Tim Cook (Apple’s current CEO) saw things differently on a number of key topics.

For Jony Ive, design has always been a top priority, one might say, while Tim Cook has had a more pragmatic and user-oriented approach. Whether we’re talking about the latest Mac Studio or the latest MacBooks with all these ports (and the memory card reader!), It seems we’re now far from the designer’s passion for the clean and minimalist lines of the products he’s created. It is one of the most emblematic examples, but the first breaks go back to 2014, when the Apple Watch was launched.

The reasons why Jony Ive, the legendary chief designer, left Apple
Apple Mac Studio // Source: Frandroid

For Jony Ive, the Apple Watch had to be a luxury product. He had imagined an extremely lavish presentation, comparable to a haute couture parade, in a white pavilion, which cost $ 25 million. The goal was to impress the Vogue reporter more than any other technical expert. Tim Cook agreed, but only up to a point, and a host of arguments then led to Jony Ive feeling unsupported by his own company for the first time.

Over the years, as you know, the Apple Watch has become a relatively popular and mainstream product and has become more and more focused on fitness and health, with luxury versions becoming more and more popular.

Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7 // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Tim Cook has always tried to please or please Jony Ive as much as possible because he feared his departure would have a serious impact on Apple’s stock value. At the same time, however, Jony Ive became more and more stressed due to the significant increase in his workload after Steve Jobs’ departure when he became full director of the design division.

Almost from one day to the next, he found himself leading more than 100 employees, up from a team of 20, which he had led for years. Tim Cook tried to offer a compromise by allowing him to work part-time and away from home, give up the day-to-day management tasks and focus solely on designing new products. But in the end, it did not succeed, and in late 2019, the creator of the iPod, iPhone and iPad said goodbye to the company he had worked for since 1992.

Jony Ive also did not like Apple’s transition to a service company. The chief designer complained that the company hired business leaders or, as he called them, ” auditors“. The sad truth is that Jony Ive’s presence was less necessary with the new Apple. Although his work has been instrumental in building Apple’s success, the American team has changed a lot.

Jony Ive’s lack of interest resulted in the famous meeting to define the final design of the iPhone X. After a three hour wait, the twenty best software designers presented Jony Ive with the new features of the smartphone. Eventually, he left the room without giving feedback to the teams.

The reasons why Jony Ive, the legendary chief designer, left Apple
Apple iPhone X

Currently, Jony Ive still works for Apple from his own agency called LoveFrom. But his emblematic client is now Ferrari. An electric car could be Jony Ive’s next big thing, but we’ll have to wait until at least 2025.


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